President Muhammadu Buhari has mourned the Prime Minister of Cote d’Ivoire, Amadou Gon Coulibaly.
He sympathised with President Alassane Ouattara, as well as the government and people of the West African country on Thursday in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
In his condolence message, President Buhari said the prime minister, who breathed his last in the line of duty at a cabinet meeting, left behind a void not only in his country but also in the West African sub-region which had looked up to him as an emerging leader for the new times.
”His leadership, political and business acumen, working in support of President Ouattara, epitomise the success story of the economy and the return of peace and stability after the crises Cote d’Ivoire passed through.
”May God bless his soul and further unify the country and its people,” the President was quoted as saying in the statement.
Coulibaly, a candidate in Ivory Coast’s presidential election scheduled for October, died on Wednesday at the age of 61.
He was reported to have died just a few days after he returned from France where he received medical treatment.
In his tribute to the late prime minister, the Ivorian President described Coulibaly as his closest collaborator for 30 decades.
Ouattara, who tweeted in French, said, “I pay tribute to my younger brother, my son, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, who was, for thirty years, my closest collaborator.
‘I salute the memory of a statesman, of great loyalty, devotion, and love for the Fatherland. He embodied this young generation of Ivorian executives of great skill and extreme loyalty to the nation.”
A father of five who earned an engineering degree in France, Coulibaly had a reputation for hard work and a temper that led to his nickname, “The Lion” of Korhogo, the country’s fourth-largest city, which was his native place.
He wielded great influence among traditional leaders of the Senoufo ethnic group, from which he came.
Critics, however, said he lacked charisma and his nomination for president did not go down well with several leaders of his ruling coalition, the Houphouetist Rally for Democracy and Peace (RHDP).
His many positions since starting out in politics in 1994 at Ouattara’s side included technical advisor, senior civil servant, deputy and mayor of Korhogo, agriculture minister, cabinet minister, and finally prime minister.
Like Ouattara, he was at ease in international financial circles and was also the country’s budget minister, giving priority to solid macro-economic management over social programmes, according to critics.
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